AT A GLANCE
DRIVERS 40mm custom-design dynamic drivers
BATTERY 20 hours with ANC
The AirPods Max is a collection of numbers: 4 years in the making, 40mm drivers, 9 microphones, 9 sensors of all sorts, and 2 H1 chips. But the biggest number of them all is the price – $849. I am well aware that wireless headphones with active noise cancellation and good sound don’t come cheap, but even I did a double-take when I saw the price.
Interestingly, these are the first AirPods to come in different colours. The safe options are obviously space grey and silver, while more adventurous folks can opt for green, sky blue, and pink. The headband and earpads are colour-matched.
Build-wise, the earcups are anodised aluminium and they are connected to the headband by polished stainless steel telescoping arms. The headband structure is stainless steel and covered in soft-touch rubber.
To help with fit and comfort, the arms have spring-loaded hinges that let the earcups rock back and forth so that they clamp on your head with just the right amount of force. The headband has what Apple calls a “breathable mesh knit canopy” which is a clever design that mimics the effect of suspension-style headbands but with fewer components. The earpads are memory foam covered with a cushy mesh fabric and are wonderfully soft. They attach via magnets and can be easily removed and replaced in future when they wear out.
The result of all this is that even though the AirPods Max are quite heavy at 384g, they are comfortable to wear.
For the price, the AirPods Max doesn’t come with many accessories. You have a Lightning to USB-C cable for charging, a carrying case, and that’s it.
The case is controversial. On its own, it looks faintly ridiculous, and if a case is judged by its ability to offer protection, then this case fails. It only wraps around the earcups and even then, not thoroughly; much of the headphone is still exposed. I suspect there is going to be a booming industry for third-party AirPods Max cases.
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